About the Artist: Maria Hjerppe

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.

― Maya Angelou

A native of Sweden, I was born in the capital city of Stockholm in 1975. Thanks to adventurous and unconventional parents, I spent my early childhood in Africa and part of my teens in the US. One of my earliest memories is my dad teaching me how to read a flight ticket and how to navigate an airport. The self-reliance and curiosity given to me by my parents is something I treasure every day, as it has provided me with the courage, confidence and ability to explore the world on my own.

In accordance with my free-spirited upbringing, I have spent much of my life choosing the road less traveled. I have worked as a professional equine artist and as a maître d' at high-class restaurants. I hold an international license as a fitness instructor, and I am also a licensed massage therapist. I have Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design & Communication and a nearly-completed Bachelor of Art in languages (English and French). Today I run my own graphic design and fine art company, Dune Design Studio, of which Kalaa Studios is the fine art division.

For much of my life I was a city-dweller, but in 2011 my partner and I bought a lovely 18th century country house located twenty minutes away from the city of Linköping in the south of Sweden. It came complete with an enormous garden which the previous owners sadly had neglected for many years, so we have our work cut out for us for many summers to come. Being rather a foodie I am thrilled that we are now able to grow our own organic vegetables, herbs, fruits, and berries. I feel much more at peace here than I ever did in the city, and with a house flooded with light and air the the artist within is flourishing in ways I did not think possible.

When my finances allow it I love to travel, especially to visit Arabian horse breeders. Recent "horse trips" have included Qatar (2009) and Egypt (2010), and those who are interested in seeing videos from my farm visits are most welcome to swing by my YouTube channel. I have been fortunate enough to visit world-famous Arabian horse breeding farms such as El Zahraa, Albadeia, Al Rayyan, Al Shaqab, Al Nasser and Al Naif, and I treasure the friendships, experiences and memories gained beyond belief and hope to be able to revisit every single farm in the future.

I discovered the model horse hobby in 1985 and was a devoted and active participant for many years. During my university years I went on a hobby hiatus, but now I am very happy to be back albeit in a rather modest way. Over the years I have become very reclusive so I no longer participate on forums or email lists. Apart from a few select pieces I also no longer keep a personal collection, nor do I attend shows. I feel very content with this extremely moderate hobby involvement and do not plan on getting more involved anytime soon, if ever. I much prefer spending my free time training the Rocky Mountain Horses at Ullekalv, working in the garden, or going for long nature walks with our dogs: the Azawakh bitch Cleo (aka SE Ch SE JW-13 Noblewinds Wakh Like An Egyptian) and the Saluki male Jaaz (aka Xass Farah E'Jaaz).

Dune Design Studio

Although equine art is an enjoyable part of my business, most of my work revolves around graphic design and photography. I have chosen to focus on equine and canine businesses, and I have been blessed with some truly wonderful clients. I also enjoy doing non-horse and dog work and happily accept all types of graphic design commissions, including but not limited to:

  • Websites
  • Invitations,flyers, ads, brochures, pamphlets, posters, etc.
  • Photo enhancement and retouching

Swing on by my website and feel very welcome to contact me with your design needs!